It’s officially the end of an era. Gay.com, one of the top online gay personal sites globally during the late ’90s and early 2000s, has a new owner — The Los Angeles LGBT Center. The site in its hey day, once competed both domestically and internationally in popularity, for the best and most frequented gay personals site.
Founded in 1994 by Mark Elderkin and his husband Jeff Bennett, the site made its official launch in May of 1997. Though the site had their technical challenges and went through several acquisitions — Gay.com was highly ranked as one of the best and most visited gay sites. It was ranked number three in American popularity, competing against Adam4Adam and Manhunt. Internationally, the site competed with dudesnude, gayromeo and gaydar. The site however started to dwindle in popularity, due to competitors like the aforementioned Manhunt and apps like Grindr.
The site, valued at $6.9 million, was acquired in 2021 by VS Media, a Los Angeles based company best known for its live-cam site Flirt4Free. After realizing that they weren’t utilizing the domain to its full potential, the company considered donating it to a LGBTQ charity. VS Media reached out to several top charities and asked them to come up with a proposal detailing how they would use the site to further lend support to the community. Executive Vice President of Flirt4Free, Brad Estes was”very happy” that the Los Angeles LGBT Center came up with the best proposal.
“The Los Angeles LGBT Center provides services for more LGBT people than any other organization in the world…
I’m very happy to announce that the future of Gay.com will go on within their extraordinary organization.”
The Los Angeles LGBT Center provides multiple services to the community including legal help, education, housing, health and advocacy. The centers chief marketing officer, Jim Key, says that the 200,000 monthly visitors that Gay.com received will certainly be beneficial to them.
“Gay.com is still getting 200,000 visitors a month. For us, that’s huge.
To have this become a property of an LGBT organization is incredibly gratifying and rewarding.
The timing was perfect for us because we just launched a new blog focusing on the untold stories of our work and the people we know.”
It’s refreshing to see major companies consider the extreme good that could come from donating a site like Gay.com to a LGBTQ charity — opposed to trying to sell it in an attempt to cut their losses short. There’s no doubt that this new ownership of the site will help The Los Angeles LGBT Center to have further reach and impact the community in a greater way.
Gay.com certainly reminds me of the glory days of Craigslist personal ads. Before I ever discovered Adam4Adam or Grindr, I would spend countless hours throughout the week reading the personals on Craigslist. There wasn’t a soap opera out that gave more drama than the ‘missed connections’ or the ‘men seeking men’ sections. Spelling out phone numbers because listing them in numerical format was prohibited. Ah, the good old days. But like all great things, this too came to an end. Craigslist shut down their personal ads section in March of 2018, after congress tightened up on laws against sex trafficking.
Do you have any memories with Gay.com or Craigslist personal ads? Let us know in the comment section below.
Source: The Wrap
3 thoughts on “The Los Angeles LGBT Center Owns The Site We Used A Little Differently”
Met my now husband on gay.com in Dec. 2008. Thank you.
Thanks for the memories! Mark & I created Gay.com with the hope it would connect people in positive ways. We are very happy the domain is in good hands with The Center!
Damn that actually sucks, I use to love going on gay.com and they had another site gay.net. I actually look them up once in a while on the internet archive (wayback machine) to see older gay stories.